Friday, March 28, 2014

Preparing for your first Bike Overnight

First Bike Overnight? 

New to Bike Overnights?
Perhaps you’ve been commuting, recreational riding, or racing by bike for years and long for a new
Bike Overnight from KC to Leavenworth

adventure. Maybe you dream of one day crossing your state or even the country on your bike...or world, but don’t know where to begin. Try a bike overnight!
A bike overnight is a 1 or 2 day trip taken by bike. Most people make it a short camping trip, but all that’s required is to explore the world for a couple of days on two wheels.
Pedal from home to a nearby state park campground. Take the family to visit Grandma in a neighboring town. Plan a romantic bed and breakfast getaway with your partner, head to Lawrence for a Basketball game.
This will be your first step to taking longer bike overnights in the future.
Youth Hostel on Nantucket Island, MA last summer.
What Do I Need?
If you plan to spend the night at a hotel, hostel, or friend’s house, all you need are route maps, personal effects like toiletries and fresh clothes (for on and off the bike), normal bike repair tools, some money, and maybe your cell phone. If you live in a city with a transit system, carrying a spare ticket may be helpful.
Camping though, requires you to schlep a few more things. See our gear lists.
How Do I Pack My Bike?
Depending on how much you’re planning to take, a backpack or messenger bag may be sufficient. However, in most cases you’ll find having a rear rack with panniers to be the most ideal solution.
Ortlieb and Arkel both make great panniers. Ortliebs are great at keeping out rain, while Arkels have many compartments and pockets for better organization. Here are seven secrets to successfully packing your panniers!
If you’re a DIY type, you may enjoy using bike buckets to carry your gear. When not on the bike, they make excellent camp stools, and on a hot day they can be loaded up with ice to keep your drinks cool!
Larger camping gear like your sleeping bag, tent, or camp pad may be best strapped on to the top deck of your rack. You could use bungee cords, old inner tubes, or a small cargo net to secure the load.

Bikes on Train in ScotlandCombine with Transit
Perhaps you live on the east edge of a large city and your favorite getaway is 30 miles from the west edge of the city. If you’d rather avoid navigating an additional 20 miles of city, consider combining your trip with transit! City busses, as well as regional ferries and trains, can help you explore new areas that may not otherwise be reachable overnight solely by bike.Even in Los Angeles, spectacular overnights can be combined with transit. Your bike can go on Amtrak! Here's how to pack your bike for the train.
In Kansas City you can take your bike on the train to St Louis, or stopping in between to ride the Katy Trail 
and there are many other options.
Article from Bike Overnight site
For more information go to the Adventure Cycling Association or Bike Overnight site

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Training rides pictures!

Our first two training were awesome. Our mantra: we ride for pleasure, adventure and autonomy stayed true as we rolled along each ride. Here are some pictures from the first training ride and then Saturdays shakedown ride. Enjoy, tell your friends, and come ride with us.
First training ride!
Started off on the Trolley Trail...
Then ended up on Blue River Road
Next hopped on the Indian Creek Greenway Trail, then
back to Family Bicycles via Lee Blvd, all had FUN!

Our second training ride was this past Saturday, we had a great time with this 40 mile route, next to to Creek trails.

Mark, Kathy, Amy, Ivan, and Bill ready to roll!
A cool Spring afternoon

Hills on this 40 mile ramble

Feed time at the 20 mile mark...

good eats...raw nuts, Cliff Bar, Jerky, Almond butter, and
Gates Barbecue...he whatever it takes :)

Last stop before the push home...good times!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Training Rides

First shakedown ride of KC Bicycle Touring on the 19th!
These rides are "shakedown" rides to help you become comfortable riding with your gear and your touring bikes! We will give you tips on packing your gear!
Our next ride is March 22nd!
Great practice for your first Bike Camping overnight by joining us this Saturday for training/ practice ride! We will meet at Family Bicycles, LLC at 1pm and head out for a 40 mile ride on our loaded bicycles. This ride will be on paved roads and multi use trails( Indian and Tomahawk Creek Trails). This is a great way to become acquainted with loaded Bicycle Touring with minimal traffic conditions. We will give you tips on touring and this will be a fun multi faceted ride with a few short rest stops along the way. Expect to be on the ride 4-5 hours max. 
To ride please have: water, snacks, helmet, spare tube, load your bike with your camping gear or weight, and come ready to ride! Theme of this ride...Wilderness 
Ride will end at Coffee Girls just 2 blocks from Family Bicycles.
ALL RIDERS MUST HAVE HELMET, SPARE TUBE/ PUMP, AND WATER if you do not you will not be able to join the ride for safety reasons, also you must be fit enough to ride 40 miles. We reserve the right to turn away any rider who we feel are not prepared, no exceptions. Better to be safe! :)
See you there!
March 19th ride was a blast!

Sam, geared up, rolling on the
Trolley Trail

Ivan, a Ride leader, was our sweeper
to make sure no one got left behind

Navigating Blue River Road

David and Carl on Indian Creek Greenway Trail

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bicycle Touring 101

Bike Touring 101

by Adventure Cycling Staff      reprinted with permission of Adventure Cycling Association

Many people become smitten with the idea of traveling by bicycle but don’t how to get started. Experienced riders know the simplicity of bike travel is one of its great joys, but to the curious newcomer this new world of possibility can appear bewildering. Below, we answer some of the common questions that beginning bicycle travelers often ask, and provide some tips to demystify cycling.

Who travels by bike?

Traveling by bike appeals to a broad spectrum of people and there are many ways to do it. It can be done individually, with friends, or with a commercial tour operator. People of all ages, backgrounds, and regions of the world choose the bicycle as their favorite means of travel. Adults in their seventies and children in their teens (and younger!) have ridden all the way across America. Bicycle travel is attractive for many reasons: it’s an exciting challenge that allows us to explore new landscapes and cultures, build physical fitness, and experience the joy of breathing fresh air and meeting new people every day.

Am I in good enough shape?

The good news is that you don't need to be a super-athlete to enjoy cycling. However, you’ll want to spend some time training on a bike before your trip. The best thing to do is to be realistic about what you can do and create achievable goals. Then, work your strength up to riding the same daily distances you plant to cover while carrying the same gear you plan to travel with. You’re physically ready if you can do back-to-back day rides that are as long or longer than you are planning for your tour, and feel like you could ride again on the third day. One of the pleasures of bike travel is that you’ll be riding into progressively better and better shape as you go. For more tips on physical preparation see “Getting in Shape for Touring.”

How far can I ride in a day?

This varies depending on your overall fitness, your personal goals, the style of touring you choose, and the terrain. Here are some tips to plan by. With a bit of bicycle-specific training, an average physically fit adult carrying less than 20 pounds of additional gear on their bike can expect to travel at an average pace of 65 miles per day on paved roads and still have time to stop and smell plenty of roses. With a load of gear totaling 20-45 pounds, the average pace to plan for should be lowered to 55 miles per day. If the terrain is particularly flat or mountainous, the average will increase or decrease accordingly (for mountain-bike travel, these distances can be cut in half, or more, depending on the ruggedness of the terrain).
Experienced bicycle travelers can ride further, but for most people, planning to exceed these averages has a tendency to increase the physical challenge and decrease the enjoyment. We recommend that you plan for at least one rest day out of ten, and carry no more than 45 pounds of gear, and a lot less if you can. Always plan time in your day, and days off in your trip, for unexpected challenges and good opportunities.

What kind of bike should I use?

Many types of bicycles can be used for touring. Although some bikes are specifically designed for touring, most quality bicycles can be customized for touring use, with the exception of road racing bikes, as they emphasize weight savings and quick handling over durability and comfort. (Folks do it, but we don’t recommend it for reliability reasons.) Important characteristics of an appropriate bike are durability, a comfortable riding position, and low gears for climbing hills. The ability to mount racks, fenders, and wide tires (32 mm or greater) is also a plus. Experienced bicycle travelers have their preferences, but there is no single style of bicycle that is an overwhelming favorite. Ultimately, your choice is based on personal preference and the type of touring you want to do (paved roads vs. dirt roads/trails, amount of gear to carry, etc.). To read more on how to select a proper bike for touring, see “How to Buy a Touring Bike Buyer's Guide”, Adventure Cyclist, March 2005.

How do I decide where to ride?

Besides the obvious—scenery, history, and any other personal interests you have—look for low-traffic routes and/or roads with good shoulders. Keep in mind that many of the places you'd like to see by bicycle, such as national parks, can be choked with traffic and undesirable for cycling. Mountain bikers usually look for routes with little or no motorized traffic and as little pavement as possible. The biggest question they need to answer is usually: Can all of the route be ridden with a loaded bike or trailer?
Many resources for finding bicycle-specific routes that emphasize safe roads and rideable trails can be found right here in The Cyclists’ Yellow Pages. These include:
  • Adventure Cycling's 41,399-mile National Bicycle Route Network and touring maps
  • State resources, including tourism agencies, state bicycle/pedestrian offices, advocacy groups, and local bike clubs.
  • Local and regional cycling maps and guidebooks listed under their respective states and countries.

How do I carry my stuff?

The most common methods of carrying gear are panniers and trailers. Panniers are luggage that attaches to your bicycle on racks that sit over or next to the wheels. Ortlieb and Arkel are two top-quality brands. Quality racks are available to fit nearly every bicycle. Trailers come in many varieties, usually with one or two wheels. Most are easy to attach and fit on almost any bicycle. The BOB Yak/Ibex and Burley Nomad are both excellent choices.
Panniers excel on paved-road riding and single-wheel trailers are at their best on rough, unpaved terrain, but both can work well for nearly all types of touring. Personal preference is the ultimate arbiter...

For the rest of article and more How To information on touring, equipment, packing gear, bike choices, camping how to's and much more go to Adventure Cycling Association

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

S24O Gear list

A kit for a overnight. Article from Grant Peterson, Rivendell Bicycle Works

What to bring on a one-night campout

What to bring bike camping. And roughly what it'll cost

 What to bring
Sleeping bag: Compact, 1 to 2.5lbs. $150 to $310. Quite a range.
Pad: 7oz to 1.5lbs, $15 to $60.
Tent, stakes: 2 to 4.9999lbs, $100 to $300.
Pillow: If you use one at home, you'll want one here. A separate pillow weighs less and takes up less space than sleeping on spare clothes, and for an S24O, there shouldn't be any spare clothes. If you like your home pillow, bring it; and there are lots of inflatables and cheap stuffables out there, too.
Toothbrush kit: About 2 oz. If you don't have a mini-tube of paste, squeeze some into an empty film can.
Headlight or booklight: 2 to 3oz., for reading at night or fishing around for stuff in the dark.
Extra clothes/pajamas: A fresh set of woolies and wool sox. About 1.5 to 2lbs.
Beanie: Wool works well.
Stove, fuel, fire kit: Only if you're going to cook. Around here, if the grass is green we cook, and if it's brown we don't--because we don't want to set the woods on fire and get in trouble and have it all over the internet.
Not that you have to or even should copy us, but this is how we do it: If two to four people go, we use a Trangia cookset with separate bowls and cups for eating and tea. The Trangia always works and always works well, and it's silent and safe and simple, and there's no canister to discard when the fuel's out.  
Eating gear: A cup or bowl, and maybe a spoon. About 6 to 17oz.
Food: Bring what you like. About 1.5 to 3lbs per person, and everybody sleeps full. In winter when we know it's safe to cook we typically bring bulk soup mixes, wholegrain spaghetti and real sauce, canned fish, bread, chocolate, dried fruit, tea, things like that
Book, camera: If you read or take pictures. A tiny booklight beats a headlamp if you plan to stay wide awake reading much of the night, but a headlight will certainly do, and will work better if you ever have to make a night-time run for it, for any reason.
Camera recommendations
Old way: Film. New way: Digital. All the pix on our site are film, which is why some of them are technically lousy! Wide angle lenses are the most useful for group camp shots. A small tripod comes in handy.
Other & notes: You'll be hard put to include all of the above for under 18 pounds, but on a hot summer overnight with no stove, 13lbs is do-able and not too hard. (If your mission in life becomes getting your overnight kit down to 6 pounds, you can do that, too. All it takes is more money (for lighter & more expensive gear), less money (don't bring as much), and tons of fanaticism or just getting a kick out of the numbers.)
A normal overnight kit will fit into a big saddlebag or a large stuff-sack in back, and a basket or a large handlebar bag up front. Or two baskets. Don't go nuts on the weight, but a small, light kit is all you really need. In the Winter, it is hard  to go for under 29 pounds. I know it  sounds like a lot, but holymoly, it adds up fast, and the nights are long, so you don't want to be without something. Bring a band-aid or a first aid kit if you like. If you don't, just be careful.
The most I've carried on an S24O is 54 pounds. Ridiculous, but it was a good test for the Bombadil, and it included a big extra tent, pad, doubles on a lot, canned and wet-soups for several, planning for a long night (dark at 5pm) sitting around talking before going to bed. I won't do that again, but the point is, it was only one night, and you can get away with things like that on an S24O. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Bike overnight- KC to Leavenworth Kansas

Our destination, the historic town of Leavenworth Kansas. Myself and Randy Rasa, of theKansas Cyclist, were the sojourners. We both rode from our homes to Desoto, Kansas to start our 24 hour adventure together. (Randy is from the Olathe area, a ride of 20 miles to the south of Desoto. I live in Prairie Village, a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, also about 20 miles to the east of Desoto.)
This is Randy’s route, since he was the navigator he gets the route glory, my route was similar except I started and finished in Prairie Village. From Desoto we headed North on Highway 2 across the Kansas River. For three hours we rolled over blacktop and at least 15 miles of gravel roads passing farms and homes.
We arrived in Leavenworth and decided to do some exploring. We found greenway trail that lead us to the Missouri River and Riverfront Park. We took some pictures, and watched locals fishing.

We sauntered into the downtown area, first stop, was the Santé Fe Trails Bicycles and Coffee Shop. There we found friendly locals who were curious about our adventure. The shop was great, cool bikes, great gear, excellent selection of cycling books and magazines, and it has a coffee bar in the center where one local told us they sit and “solve the world’s problems.” We next explored the downtown area and found some great old buildings. All the people we met were warm and friendly.

Our campground was only a five minute ride from downtown. The campground manager, Charles, had the flavor of an old coot from the Wild West. He was a talker and lived in a trailer next to camp with his cat.
The campsite
After pitching our tents we rode back into town for a cheeseburger and some local made beer at the High Noon Saloon. Then back to camp for night time river watching. We talked about our adventures of the day before turning in about 10pm. Sleep came easily. A thunderstorm blew in about 6am. I looked out my tent to see Randy on the river bank taking pictures. The storm lasted only a few minutes and then the sky cleared. Sunrise over the river was gorgeous.
We woke to a thunderstorm
We decided to take an alternative route home, Randy was prepared, maps in hand. The route he chose was very scenic, but also the hilliest. The road temperature rose in the 90s and the humidity was high; it was not long before I started to wish I had not eaten the Bison Burger before our ride home. The rolling scenery was amazing and reminded me of farmland in Ireland. Getting low on water we stopped at a Kansas City Kansas Fire Station to fill our bottles.
Randy Rasa
After 4 hours we made our way to Mill Creek Greenway and parted ways: Randy headed south to Olathe and I back east to Prairie Village. A successful bike overnight.